United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
JASON OSWALT, as Special Administrator of the estate of Jeremy Oswalt, Deceased, Plaintiff,
SHANE REKEWEG, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Adams County, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Collins United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Strike Portion of
Plaintiff's Complaint (DE 28), filed by Defendants on
October 3, 2017, seeking to strike the three-page
introduction entitled “Statement of the Case” in
Plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff filed a response brief
in opposition to the motion on October 13, 2017. (DE 29).
Defendants have not filed a reply brief, and their time to do
so has now passed. N.D. Ind. L.R. 7-1(d)(2)(B). Thus, the
motion is ripe for adjudication.
following reasons, the motion to strike will be DENIED.
Applicable Legal Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) states that the Court
“may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or
any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” “Generally speaking, motions to strike
portions of pleadings are disfavored as they consume scarce
judicial resources and may be used for dilatory
purposes.” Silicon Graphics, Inc. v. ATI Techs.
ULC, No. 06-C-611-C, 2007 WL 5312633, at *1 (W.D. Wis.
Mar. 12, 2007) (citing Custom Vehicles, Inc. v. Forest
River, Inc., 464 F.3d 725, 727 (7th Cir. 2006);
Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., 883 F.2d
1286, 1294 (7th Cir. 1989)). However, “a motion that
seeks to remove unnecessary clutter serves not to delay, but
rather to expedite.” Abayneh v. Zuelch, No.
2:10-CV-415 RLM-RCB, 2011 WL 572407, at *1 (N.D. Ind. 2011)
(citing Heller Fin., Inc., 883 F.2d at 1294).
to strike pleadings “will generally be denied unless
the portion of the pleading at issue is prejudicial.”
U.S. Liab. Ins. Co. v. Bryant, No. 3:10-cv-129, 2011
WL 221662, at *1 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 21, 2011) (citing Heller
Fin., Inc., 883 F.2d at 1294; Tektel, Inc. v.
Maier, 813 F.Supp. 1331, 1334 (N.D. Ill. 1992)). The
decision whether to strike material under Rule 12(f) is
within the discretion of the district court. Delta
Consulting Grp., Inc. v. R. Randle Constr., Inc., 554
F.3d 1133, 1141 (7th Cir. 2009); Talbot v. Robert
Matthews Distrib. Co., 961 F.2d 654, 665 (7th Cir.
seek to strike the three-page introduction entitled
“Statement of the Case” in Plaintiff's
19-page complaint. (DE 1 at 2-4). The first page of the
Statement of the Case describes a purported
“epidemic” of individuals with serious mental
health illnesses detained in county jails who allegedly
receive poor treatment or no treatment at all. The remaining
two pages describe, in narrative, Plaintiff's view of his
case, essentially summarizing and repeating much of the
numbered allegations set forth in the body of the complaint.
Defendants observe that the Statement of the Case is
“literally from the press release Plaintiff's
counsel prepared and concurrently submitted to various media
outlets in northeastern Indiana.” (DE 28 at 2 (citing
DE 28-1)). Defendants assert that the Statement of the Case
is “at best improper argument and at worst a clear
attempt to ‘poison the well[, ]'” and that
either way, this portion should be stricken as
“immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous.” (DE 28
disputes Defendants' characterization of the Statement of
the Case. Plaintiff contends that the Statement of the Case
“provides relevant background information and context
for the remaining allegations contained within
Plaintiff's [c]omplaint.” (DE 29 at 2). Plaintiff
also challenges Defendants' failure to point out what
statements or sentences in particular within the Statement of
the Case should be stricken, contending that Defendants'
motion conclusorily seeks to strike the entire Statement of
the Case. As such, Plaintiff urges that the motion to strike
should be summarily denied.
preliminary statement is generally unnecessary and improper
in the context of a defendant's answer to a
complaint.” Ramos v. Playtex Prods., Inc.,
Nos. 08 CV 2703, 08 CV 2828, 08 CV 3352, 2008 WL 4066250, at
*5 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 27, 2008). However, as already explained,
a motion to strike a portion of a pleading will generally be
denied unless the portion is prejudicial. U.S. Liab. Ins.
Co., 2011 WL 221662, at *1 (citing Heller Fin.,
Inc., 883 F.2d at 1294; Tektel, Inc., 813
F.Supp. at 1334). The Court agrees that the Statement of the
Case in this instance is unnecessary. The first page
concerning the alleged national problem relating to the lack
of mental health treatment in county jails appears
argumentative and rather immaterial to the allegations at
issue, and the remaining two pages summarizing
Plaintiff's view of the case are redundant with respect
to the numbered allegations of the complaint.
Defendants do not explain any way in which they would be
prejudiced if the Statement of the Case remains in the
complaint. Defendants' failure to describe, with
particularity, how it would be prejudiced by the Statement of
Case is fatal to their motion to strike. See, e.g.,
Ware v. Hosp. of the Univ. of Pa., No.
2:14-cv-00014, 2015 WL 5729243, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 30,
2015) (denying defendants' motion to strike the
introduction section of plaintiff's complaint due to
defendants' inability to point to any risk of confusion
or prejudice from the introduction section); Mark Andy,
Inc. v. Cartonmaster Int'l (2012), Inc., No.
4:14-CV-986-SPM, 2014 WL 7140630, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 12,
2014) (“[T]he Court does not find that . . . redundancy
alone warrants striking the Introduction in absence of some
prejudice to Defendants.”); Fox v. Will Cty.,
No. 04 C 7309, 2011 WL 6206238, at *2 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 7, 2011)
(denying motion to strike portions of plaintiff's
complaint where defendant failed to explain precisely why
plaintiff's allegations are “unduly
prejudicial” (citing Davis v. Ruby Foods, 269
F.3d 818, 821 (7th Cir. 2001))); Ind. Ins. Co. v.
Westfield Ins. Co., No. 10 C 2660, 2010 WL 3404971, at
*3 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 26, 2010) (same); see also Lahr v.
Brigadoon Fin., Inc., No. 1:15-cv-00106-JD-SLC, 2015 WL
5286790, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 9, 2015) (denying
plaintiff's motion to strike a preliminary statement
included in defendant's answer where no prejudice was
because Defendants failed to explain with specificity how
they would be prejudiced by the Statement of the Case portion
in Plaintiff's complaint, and because motions to strike
are generally disfavored, see Custom Vehicles, Inc.,
464 F.3d at 727, Defendants' motion to strike will be
foregoing reasons, Defendants' motion to strike (DE 28)
is DENIED. Defendants are GRANTED leave to file an amended